The table is too short for Keith’s knees. It’s unfortunate because the air is perfect and the bodies smell good for the most part. But whenever he tries to move, bone strikes gummy wood and it leads to discomfort. He and Rachel are out on the terrace smoking cigarettes in a city they’d prefer not to name.

He’s a rakish fellow — not the kind who’d steal bottles in the daylight. She has many piercings in her left ear, but they’re uniform in their ascension. Steel ring upon steel ring. They glint pulsing blue when a police car races by. Her other ear is boring.

“What game would like you like to play?” she asks, leaning forward over a half-glass of cheap rioja and ignoring the protesters. Her cheek bones are quite remarkable. Keith is fascinated by them. He generally avoids Rachel because of Elena, but sometimes he thinks about those cheekbones in the bathroom and teems with envy. Elena has better breasts but those are easy to come by. A cheekbone is worth a king’s ass or something like that.

Rachel mostly annoys him. She wants to be famous and probably will be. She once took a class on how to manipulate her eyes and earned a citation for excellence. Keith is too aware. He sips on a coke and Jack and tastes too much coke. Those cheekbones. They slope down in an arc to her wide mouth littered with teeth that can’t be this white. It’s all a lie, but that makes it intriguing — so Keith thinks. He makes a show of swirling his mixed drink and drops a glowing butt into the glass ashtray.

“It’s your turn.”

She mocks a pout with purple lips. She doesn’t realize it, sloppy bitch, he thinks pulling out another cigarette. He sucks his teeth and tries to ignore her bright face.

“You mentioned costumes.”

“Feathers, darling, feathers,” he answers looking toward the street.

“Excuse me?”

“Do you ever wonder about the Aztecs? Quetzlcoatl was a feathery wanker. I mean we all want to fly right? Did you ever dream about it?”

“About flying?”

“Do you want brandy? I think I need some brandy. I used to float a lot. Wriggle around the staircase and scrape my back on the ceiling stucco.”

Does he want me to wear wings she thinks and pouts again. Keith thinks about shaving with her cheekbones and chuckles slowly — a sign of infatuation.

Silence on the terrace. It is now exactly two in the morning, and the snakes wind their way up the dusty avenue to the cathedral. Tourists snap photos for right-wing blogs and cross themselves. Rachel watches the miracle and sighs. Her mother will want photos.

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~ by Benji on 22 May 2009.

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